Thomas, sayings 5 and 6

Note that the quote from Blake was originally attributed to Wordsworth, through some inadvertence that I do not understand. Given that the guys presumably lifted the quote from my mind, how could they, or I in recording, get it wrong? Nonetheless, take note. It is from Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell.”

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

4:40 a.m. Saying 5:

Jesus said: Recognize what is right in front of you, and that which is hidden from you will be revealed to you. Nothing hidden will fail to be displayed.

This one seems so obvious, there must be more to it than meets the eye – which in fact is just what it says, isn’t it?

Yes it is. When you really see, you see not only appearance but hidden aspects of what you see. Connect this with the previous saying now.

See with a beginner’s mind, and you will see beyond surface appearance.

Again, remember to approach these sayings from the idea that Jesus was teaching the centrality of 3D as problem/opportunity and the non-centrality of 3D as an end in and of itself; also, remember that the sayings as preserved were reminders of a larger oral teaching, rather than a complete catechism or textbook, and, as we said, much will become clear.

So we may proceed to the next.

So quickly? Okay.

His disciples questioned him: Should we fast? In what way should we pray? Should we give to charity? From which foods should we abstain? Jesus responded: Do not lie. If there is something that you hate, do not do it, for everything is revealed beneath heaven. Nothing hidden will fail to be displayed. Nothing covered will remain undisclosed.

This one also seems obvious, and I have to restrain myself from looking at the commentary to see if what I see is what Davies saw. To me it is classic outer v. inner. The disciples are saying what should we do or not do. Jesus is saying here is what you want to be. Action v. essence.

That’s not wrong, but needs spelling out, a bit. “Being” is revealed, but is also shaped, by “doing.” This is mostly a matter of understanding. The same action, done with different intent or out of different response to provocation, is not the same seen in essence as it is when see in appearance.

I tell people, Jesus taught integrity above all things. That which you are, express, and if you don’t want to express it, change so you are not it.

Interesting, as what came out just now is not what I have said, but something more sophisticated. I said only, Jesus said don’t pretend; be what you are. But I see this is a deeper insight.

Again (and again and again) remember to look at this as a record of reminders of how Jesus had transformed their understanding of life and of themselves. From this simple teaching, many a discussion will have been necessary, to clarify the point and clear away the misunderstandings people will have brought to it.

Rituals, rites, practices, specific habits may (may) help remind one of the goal; they will not, cannot, in and of themselves bring anyone anywhere. So when the disciples asked if they should do this or that, his answer would have been aimed at having them understand that. To have answered, “You should” do x and such will be misleading and worse if it is taken to mean, “this action in itself will produce results”; it may be helpful if understood to mean, “this action may assist you to be such a way as may eventually produce results.” In other words, an action performed as if it in itself will produce merit or will produce a desired change within oneself, is in nature superstitious. The same action, performed as discipline or as mindful habit, may help keep you on track which in turn may lead to the desired change or the desired maintenance of a given course.

Clear to me. Abstaining from eating meat on Friday is in itself meaningless or superstitious, but the same action, if performed as a sign (for others and for oneself) of solidarity with the church, and as a reminder and token of willing sacrifice for one’s chosen goal, may be useful and even meritorious. I do see the distinction. It shades off, however, if we think of the act as expressing obedience or disobedience to a church organization. What of that?

Being a member of a church can not, in and of itself, save anybody from anything. It can not, in and of itself, be a good thing or a bad thing. Does belonging to a woodworking guild make you a good (or even a better) woodworker? It may demonstrate perceived competence, and may demonstrate one’s self-identification with the larger worldview of the woodworkers. It may be a visible expression of one’s aspirations to attain greater skill as a woodworker, and to live in such a way as to be justly proud of one’s accomplishments and dedication to the goal. But membership in and of itself says nothing about one’s true essence, only the appearance one wishes to present. This especially if one may be born into woodworking, may buy one’s way in with money or other coin of exchange rather than with skill or intent or talent. You see; no need to spell it out.

Yes. Churches are human institutions, useful as such institutions may be, and subject to corruption or degeneration as such may be.

They may have social utility; they may be stabilizers in many senses of the word. They are not and cannot in and of themselves be anything in respect to the individual’s journey though 3D life.

External organizations, like external actions, are more like significators than determiners. (And who wrote that? Not me, I think.)

However, do not neglect the rest of the saying, which is put in direct response to questions that otherwise might be seen as unrelated. They asked, “What actions should we perform?” He responded, “Be what you are, for there is ultimately no concealment.” People don’t look at that carefully enough. Look at what it does not say. It does not say, “Do this and that, refrain from doing this and that other.” It does not say, “This or that category of things is or is not required or forbidden.” Look carefully at that sentence: “Don’t do what you hate doing.” What does that mean, in context. If you hate giving to charity or you hate listening to the teachings of Jesus, or if you hate, say, “Love your neighbor” specifically, does this mean, “Follow your feelings”?

I’d say that’s exactly what it means. How else can the words be interpreted?

Would that not be interpretable as, “If you wish to do evil, do it”?

Logically, that is exactly what it sounds like. But I’m expecting you to show me that it does not.

Okay, but it does, in a way.

“In a way.”

Of course in a way. Jesus is attempting to show people the reality of their lives in 3D. Would you expect him therefore to say, “But do what you want, because the guidelines I’m giving you don’t mean anything”? No, the admonition to not do what you hate is one of the admonitions. It says be what you are, express what you really are, because if you do not, you will be one thing on the inside and another on the outside, and this cannot stand. [“A house divided against itself cannot stand,” it occurs to me, typing this.]

So if I have murderous impulses, I should give in to them for the sake of internal consistency?

No, you should listen to Blake saying, “Sooner strangle an infant in a cradle than nurse unacted desires.” Not have unacted desires, or that is not within one’s power to determine, but do not at the same time nurse them and deny them.

So if you hate something, don’t do it, either by not doing it or by changing your attitude toward it so you don’t hate it?

Bear in mind, these teachings are not sociology, nor –. Well, put it this way: One may be forced to do things one hates; that is not the same as doing the same things for reasons of expediency. It is, as always, a matter of one’s will, one’s intent, rather than the way they may express, for actions, like situations, may be misleading to the observer, even when the observer is oneself.

I’m always interested to write sentences I don’t understand as I’m writing them.

Part of the process, and a good part. Enough for now.

You guys are like tenured professors. The hour is up, and you close up shop with a neat flourish. Thanks as always.

 

One thought on “Thomas, sayings 5 and 6

  1. It seems that TGU/Nathanial tip-toe around the “not doing A means you do B” trap. “If there is something that you hate, do not do it” says absolutely nothing about what you should do.

    Jesus’ teachings about what one should do seem (to me) to be on the order of ‘work hard to be aware and understand yourself.’ It’s (IMHO) religions and other institutions that say ‘If you don’t do this, it means you’re doing that.’ I try to separate the issues: stopping what you hate seems much easier to understand (if not easy to ‘do’) than growing into understanding what you choose to do.
    Jim

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